“It’s at moments like this — when she’s put the class through their paces and has them settled back onto their mats in a state of collective peace, contentment, and deep relaxation, when their bodies are glistening with a light sheen of sweat, when the afternoon sun is glinting off the end of the Silver Lake Reservoir, which she can see through the wall of windows she and Alan had installed on the southern side of the studio, when all seems temporarily right with the world — that Lee starts craving a cigarette.”
Tales From the Yoga Studio by Rain Mitchell
Perhaps Lee is craving that cigarette because despite her training she has a lot to fret about in life. She may be able to help her students find peace and work through their ailments as they learn and strengthen their yoga practice but there are a lot of times that Lee finds some her mantras not being enough for her.
Nestled in the quite community of Silver Lake, Lee’s studio that she built with her husband is where students find that no other yoga studio in Los Angeles rivals this one. The yoga community is filled with celebrity yoginis and designer clothes but when students come to Lee’s studio they find that it’s all in the approach to yoga. Lee cares about her students, sometimes offering free classes, special instruction and best of all forming relationships with them.
The story, in what promises to be a series, introduces the reader to five strong women who find they need help from their friends and yoga to help them get back on track to a happy and healthy life. Lee is dealing with a husband who isn’t happy with their marriage, there is a beautiful dancer who needs to heal from an injury, the studio’s massage therapist who needs to trust in love, a successful actress who is looking for another big break and a screenwriter who needs to believe in herself.
The story develops as each character faces one big hurdle before they can move forward with their lives. In Lee’s case she needs to decide whether she should listen to her husband and sell off the studio to join a large, yoga studio chain or whether she wants to remain true to herself.
While the characters were all likable, I sort of wish there had been more of a focus on Lee and less on developing some of the other characters as I didn’t feel like I got to know a couple of them as well as I should have. Although perhaps that is something that will come about in the other books.
Lee’s studio sounded like a wonderful place and more like a community which is exactly the type of place I like for my own yoga practice. I think the one thing that was missing was that it seemed the focus was only on one type of yoga class. It seems like everyone was sweating in this book and that is not always the case. Yoga is wonderful for the body but if you study yoga you know that an asana practice (the postures) only makes up one part of the practice.
If you like stories of friendship this would be a fun book to try. If you aren’t into yoga, don’t worry, there are only a few Sanskrit words scattered throughout and who knows you may be tempted to unroll your mat, sit in lotus pose and just breathe and let go.
Source: Advance Review Copy